The SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament kicked off its first day of action on Wednesday in Greenville, South Carolina. The No. 1-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks enter the tournament as the favorite to win it all and the national championship this season.
The SEC is projected to have six teams make the NCAA tournament, but Florida and Kentucky are not among those six. Kentucky hoped to rekindle their magic from last year when they went on a run that ended with them knocking off the Lady Gamecocks in the championship game of the SEC Tournament.
Florida and Kentucky, both fighting for a chance to sneak into the NCAA Tournament, ended up taking it out on each other. The two teams got into a brawl that cleared both benches and led to eight players being ejected.
How Did the Fight Start?
Early in the second quarter, Gators forward Tatyana Wyche threw the ball toward Wildcats forward Ajae Petty and then ran across the court to confront her. Wyche appeared to not like how Petty grabbed the ball after her Wildcats teammate scored and held it in the face of Wyche before she released it.
Wyche threw a punch after she ran behind Petty. She didn’t land the punch but both benches cleared. Officials and coaches quickly restrained players before the situation got out of hand.
Florida’s Faith Dut, Ra Shaya Kyle, Taliyah Wyche and Tatyana Wyche were all sent to the locker room after the fight, and the Wildcats lost Cassidy Rowe, Eniya Russell, Zennia Thomas and Saniah Tyler on their side. The game was also delayed over 20 minutes.
The SEC hasn’t issued a statement about the fight or handed down any other punishment to the players ejected.
As for the game, the Wildcats kept their season alive with a 72-57 win over the Gators.
Nothing New for SEC Tournaments
The fight between the Gators and Wildcats was not the first fight this school year that has happened at a SEC women’s tournament. In November, LSU and Ole Miss got into a fight during the SEC women’s soccer tournament. That fight ended with three players being ejected.
LSU’s Maya Gordon stole the ball from Ole Miss’ Ramsey Davis. As Gordon chased down the ball, Davis grabbed her by the waist and she responded with a punch. Davis retaliated with a slap and the fight escalated from there. An official ran to separate the two, but couldn’t deescalate the situation fast enough and other players jumped in.
Officials ejected three players: Davis from Ole Miss, Gordon from LSU, and Rammie Noel from LSU. Noel and Gordon were also suspended for their next match.